Since it only takes us about an hour and a half to drive to Banff from our house, we have had the privilege of visiting often so here are a few things we love about the area.
Banff – townsite or national park? BOTH! To get into the national park you have to purchase a park pass.
- Provides entry to Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Waterton Lakes and Elk Island national parks
- Valid until 4:00 p.m. on the day after purchase
- Provides entry into more than 100 National Parks, National Marine Conservation Areas and National Historic Sites across Canada
- Valid for a full year until the end of the calendar month of purchase
You can check out the Parks Canada website for information on pricing and where you can purchase your pass.
Now, once you’re in the park you can visit different towns or you can explore the great outdoors to your heart’s content.
Discover Unlimited Beauty
Parking is free in Banff but it’s a little tricky to find an empty spot especially in summer or on weekends. You can take a shuttle from Banff to Johnston Canyon in the summer months. The shuttle departs from the Banff Train Station and costs about $5 for the round trip (free for 17 years old and under).
You should know that food is very important to us and since Lisa has Celiac Disease, it hits our radar a little differently than most. If you’re spending a day in the mountains hiking the spectacular trails, make sure you bring plenty of water and high-energy snacks with you as it’s going to be several hours before you get to civilization again to refuel. If you’re spending the day in the town of Banff, there are plenty of dining and snacking options available at every price point. The maple walnut fudge at the Banff Fudgery is gluten-free (they can’t guarantee it, of course) and totally delicious! Check out our YouTube video to see some of their daily offerings. There are several coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants, and bistros to choose from as you stroll along the historic sidewalks. If you have a favourite place to dine in Banff, we’d love to know about it. You can e-mail us here or leave a comment on our YouTube video.
Speaking of strolling along, Banff is quite dog-friendly with water dishes at the entrances of many stores but you’ll have to leave Rover outside while you go in to shop…and always keep him on a leash even when you’re out hiking in the wilds of the Canadian Rockies.
Remember, Banff and Lake Louise are two of the highest elevation communities in Alberta and the weather can be fickle. Always be prepared for extreme cold, wind, snow, rain, hail, and hot sunshine! In other words, dress in layers and throw a touque in the car just in case.